The CEO of the hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok made a rare public appearance Thursday, 23 March 2023, in front of a U.S. Congressional committee. He was questioned about data security and user safety while he made his case for why the app shouldn’t be banned.
Shou Zi Chew’s testimony comes at a very important time for the company. It has 150 million American users, but U.S. officials are putting more and more pressure on it.
Beijing and Washington are fighting over trade and technology, and TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, are caught in the middle.
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In her opening statement, Republican Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers questioned how trustworthy the social platform was because of its close ties to Beijing.
“Mr. Chew, you are here because the American people need the truth about the threat TikTok poses to our national and personal security,” McMorris Rodgers said. “TikTok has repeatedly chosen a path for more control, more surveillance and more manipulation.”
Chew, born and raised in Singapore and now 40 years old, will tell the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce that TikTok puts the safety of its young users first and deny claims that the app threatens national security. His prepared remarks were made public before the hearing.
“There are many misconceptions about our company and I’m very proud to come here and represent them and all our users in this country,” Chew told reporters before entering the hearing.
The firm brought hundreds of its most prominent TikTokers to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, 22 March 2023, to pitch senators to keep the site online.
Below a tweet is given related this news-
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew made several commitments to U.S. lawmakers: safety, user data protection, free expression, and transparency pic.twitter.com/t5yoChfoSm
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 24, 2023
It has also been putting up ads all over Washington that say it will protect users’ data and privacy and give its young users a safe place to hang out.
People have said that since China owns TikTok, user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government or be used to spread stories that are good for the Communist leaders of China.
“We understand the popularity of Tiktok, we get that,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “But the President’s job is to make sure again that the Americans, national security is protected as well. “
TikTok, on the other hand, has been trying to distance itself from its Chinese roots by saying that global institutional investors like Carlyle Group own 60% of its parent company, ByteDance. ByteDance was started in 2012 by Chinese business people in Beijing.
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